BabyTron likes to goof around. On his early scam raps, he bragged about wheeling and dealing with Russian gangsters on Telegram and punching holes in walls like Dragon Ball Super villain Lord Beerus. He spit over an instrumental with 21 beat changes and, after getting arrested this year, released an EP with his mugshot as the cover, poorly photoshopped to make him look like Super Mario. His casual silliness is one of his most distinct qualities; not many rappers could work quick-witted bars about drug money over the Donkey Kong Country theme, coming off like a Gen-Z answer to Papoose.

After joining last year’s XXL Freshman class, Tron is now making songs for blockbusters. So following the lead of January’s Bin Reaper 3: New Testament, which boasted big-name features from Lil Yachty, Cordae and Rico Nasty, his latest project 6 plunges further into Serious Album territory. Here, the beats are slower and less colorful; in place of kooky pop culture samples from Harry Potter and The Bernie Mac Show is more menacing and grayscale production. There are still plenty of irreverent punchlines (“No veggies on my hibachi, already smoked lots of broccoli”), but the album feels more deliberate.

Take opener “100 Bars,” a word-game endurance test in the vein of Blackalicious’ “Alphabet Aerobics” or The Game’s “300 Bars & Runnin’.” The angle? Tron ascends from 1 to 100 with quips about everything from fighting with grown adults (“Why you tryna beef with me, like ain’t you thirty-nine?”) to his dazzling jewelry (“Chain know like eighty-three dance moves, this bitch Sada [Baby]”). But this time, he’s not barreling through the beat, instead taking his time to stunt. He’ll pause the count to whisper an aside or simply let out a “skrrt!” There’s a sense of relish across 6 that’s missing from other Tron projects.

Several cuts feature hooks, a first for Tron. On “Russian Roulette,” he channels the rush of the gun game into a droning chant—“Russian roulette, spin the barrel, point it at yo head/It’s either ‘click’ and you straight or [gunshot], you dead”—that gives the song structure. But his refrains can also drag the momentum, sounding like half-baked placeholders for a better verse. The chorus on “Slo-Mo” is drably delivered and written, redeemed only slightly by a clever comparison between the jewels on his wrist and a Sno-Cone. The hook for “Mush Smush” comes off stilted and repetitive.

Half the fun of a Tron song is following all of the ridiculous images he conjures. On “Eobard Thwane,” he dunks on a hater for having a truck that looks like Mater from Cars before flexing his $6,000 Marni sweater. But this time, his writing has a darker undercurrent. Closing track “Letters” is a series of short confessionals: “It fucked me up that you ain’t ’round to catch a jack/It fucked me up that you ain’t ’round to catch a flight,” he raps to a dead friend, a twinge of melancholy in his voice. It isn’t exactly Nas’ “One Love,” but this is the most vulnerable Tron has ever been on record. His attempts to dig deeper into himself are a welcome change; he still has a ways to go before he hits the next level.